Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.5 Beta is full of improvements, new features and is easier for RHEL users to access and test out. This release brings live kernel patching to the web console, a number of system roles and management enhancements, and removes the requirement to explicitly ask for beta access.

A number of the new features and enhancements in this release are a direct response to customer requests. This release continues the 6-month release cadence Red Hat announced at the beginning of the RHEL 8 cycle, providing users with a predictable and reliable release schedule.

RHEL 8.5 Beta: Even easier to manage and deploy

With each RHEL release we work to make RHEL easier to manage, easier to deploy and a better foundation for your workloads, applications and services. 

RHEL 8.5 Beta continues this tradition with a number of management features and system roles to help deploy services, manage systems and assess security risks.

System roles

RHEL system roles use Ansible roles and modules to configure, automate and manage services on RHEL. Several new or enhanced system roles for popular workloads on RHEL are being released or updated alongside RHEL 8.5 Beta, including: 

  • RHEL system role for Microsoft SQL Server: Allows IT administrators and DBAs to more quickly install, configure and tune SQL Server in an automated fashion.

  • RHEL system role for VPN: Reduces the time to configure VPN tunnels and reduces risk of misconfiguration or use of non-recommended settings. Also supports host-to-host and mesh VPN configurations.

  • RHEL system role for Postfix: In tech preview for some time, the RHEL system role for Postfix is fully supported with RHEL 8.5. It enables administrators to skip manual configuration of Postfix, automating how you install, configure, and start the server, as well as specify custom settings to better control how Postfix works in your environment.

  • RHEL system role for timesync:  Uses a new Network Time Security (NTS) option as part of the existing timesync system role.

  • RHEL system role for Storage: Adds support for LVM (Logical Volume Manager) VDO (Virtual Data Optimizer) volumes and volume sizes that can be expressed as a percentage of the pool's total size.

See the RHEL system roles overview on the Red Hat Customer Portal to learn more about installing and using system roles on RHEL.

Web console

RHEL's web console, based on the upstream Cockpit project, is a web-based interface for managing and monitoring your systems. RHEL 8.5 Beta brings a few new tricks to an already useful and convenient RHEL utility.

  • Enhanced web console performance metrics: The enhanced performance metrics page can help identify potential causes of high CPU, memory, disk, and network resource usage spikes. In addition, customers can more easily export metrics to a Grafana server.

  • Kernel live patching management via web console: This new web console capability provides a simplified interface for applying live kernel updates without having to use command line tooling.

That's not all: OpenJDK 17, NTS and more

There's plenty more in this release we're eager to have you try, and we'll be writing about in greater detail over the next few weeks and months. This includes new support for OpenJDK 17 and other language updates for developers, additional security features for personal access tokens and network time security (NTS) for NTP. And, of course, we've worked to improve features for running Linux containers, and more. 

The new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Beta experience

We want to get RHEL betas into customers' hands (and onto test systems) as easily as possible. To that end, we've removed the requirement to sign up for RHEL beta access. 

Red Hat accounts now have an unlimited quantity of Red Hat Beta Access subscriptions.  The end date of the subscription matches the end date of your Red Hat subscription with the farthest end date. Learn more about this on the Red Hat Customer Portal Knowledgebase article, "Introducing the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Beta experience."

About the author

Joe Brockmeier is the editorial director of the Red Hat Blog. He also acts as Vice President of Marketing & Publicity for the Apache Software Foundation.

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